The strength of the US dollar is becoming a cause for concern with the potential for an export slow down, while European airlines see problems with the euro, dollar exchange rate at near parity.
The dollar has increased in value from about 72 euro cents to about 93 euro cents, a 29 per cent increase in value over the last 12 months.
Speaking to Air Cargo Week (ACW) at the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) Cargo Network Services (CNS) conference in Orlando (US), Swiss International Airlines’ chief cargo officer and head of Swiss WorldCargo, Oliver Evans, explains what he sees as the significance of the dollar’s appreciation against the euro and other currencies. “It’s a structural problem for the USA, the strength of the dollar and it’s beginning to slow down exports. I think we are going to see some tough times ahead,” he says.
Lufthansa is also concerned about the strength of the dollar. Lufthansa Cargo vice president for the Americas, Achim Martinka, attended the IATA CNS conference and spoke to ACW. Martinka says: “Atlantic routing has always been our strongest routing. The dollar to euro exchange rate makes it hard for US exports. I don’t expect large volume growth this year, it if is the same as 2104 I’d be happy.”
Evans sees SWISS as having an advantage compared to other airlines in its targeting of high value freight such as luxury goods and pharmaceuticals and avoiding general freight, which is more sensitive to the state of the world economy. He tells ACW: “For those whose capacity is a commodity, you have to be at the top of your game.”
SWISS has had an 85 per cent load factor, according to Evans. The airline is adding 20 per cent to its capacity in 2016, as has six Boeing 777 being delivered over six months.